Determined developers never call it quits.

And that’s the case with Andy Coltart and his Tukituki river-side development at one of the river’s most scenic and recreationally enjoyed locations. Last month BayBuzz reported that Hastings Council planning staff recommended denying — full stop — Coltart’s application to intensively develop a 25 hectare property along the Tukituki (indeed, 8.5 hectares is the riverbed and river channel itself!).

Staff concluded that landscape and recreational values at Horseshoe Bend would be compromised so adversely by such intensive development that mitigation measures could not achieve the protections required by the District Plan and the RMA. They further argued that granting this application would create a precedent conducive to similar development along the Tukituki, thwarting both existing and pending rural development policy for the District, which aims to protect the rural character and amenity of the Tukituki area.

Rather than challenge the staff recommendation in the normal hearing process, Coltart has taken another tack. Shelving his earlier plan to have the matter decided with the property classified as “Rural”, he has forced HDC to concede that, because of historical oversight, the land at issue is in fact un-zoned. Therefore the Council has no authority over land use on the property! Coltart can build whatever and wherever he wants on the property; only if he seeks to create separate titles will the Council have any leverage on the situation.

Once again it seems that determined developers with clever lawyers can generally find a loophole in the District Plan … in this case one big enough to drive a bus through.

The Council staff still holds the view that Coltart’s planned intensive development would be irredeemably damaging. No environmental facts have changed. Discussions continue amongst Coltart, Hastings Council and opposing submitter Bruno Chambers.

For now the fate of this spectacular unspoiled stretch of the Tukituki is in Coltart’s hands … and public goodwill is his to earn or lose. Ultimately, however, the RMA might stand in his way.

Tom Belford

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5 Comments

  1. In respect to the Tuki how did land remain unzoned in a District Plan that was formulated under the RMA in the past decade? Tom is generous in describing it as Historic oversight

    In the end it may be recently passed Notified Plan changes by HBRC and the fact they are the consenting authority for waste water disposal that deters developement at horseshoe bend

    I caught my largest trout from the Tuki in that location in1974 the year after arrival. It had twice the flow then and no algae blooms of significance and far more and larger trout than todays degraded shadow of its former world top ten free access fisheries rating along with the Mohaka in the 1960's that drew me here. All so sad.

    That area of the Tuki holds very special memories for me.

  2. If there is a developer you would trust to do the right thing in the valley it is Andy. His existing projects in the Tuki are subtle and stunning. They get people to see the natural beauty of the area.

    I've done several events at the Riverlodges and it makes me proud to show people from outside of the Bay the area.

    Rod

  3. Phew pretty in your face blog Bay Buzz which of course can be an ok thing BUT Andy Coltart would be the biggest advocate for preserving the land and it's integrity not to mention promoting the joys of HB and building as Rod so rightly points out beautiful places for visitors and locals to enjoy. His reputation and what he has given to our community is huge and I feel upset that he seems to be being personnally attacked? The Council has a process and Andy is experienced enough to follow the process and adjust accordingly….. to seem to suggest that he is using sinister means is to put it nicely misleading!!

  4. Rod and Adrienne,

    The issue is not what Andy has done in the past, but what he proposes to do now. I suggest you take a look at his intensive development plan, and reflect on the fact that Council's planning staff took such a strong position in recommending rejection of his application.

    Tom

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